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Checkmate This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   My father was an intelligent chemist who was very knowledgeable in the sciences and math. In my youth, he taught me the basics of chess. I practiced with him many times. In my eyes, he was a very great chess player. I played for fun, not believing I could ever beat him. One day, I was playing very well. I saw that I could checkmate him in just a few moves! My breathing became short and constricted. The walls closed in on me. Should I try not to stare at the piece I was about to move so that he wouldn't see it? Or should I stare at the board blankly, hoping and praying that he would not ruin my plot? These thoughts raced through my mind as I felt my legs go limp. I could hear my heartbeat pounding against my eardrums, making me deaf and paralyzed.

I saw him make his last move as an undefeated champion. Quickly, I grabbed my piece and slammed it right next to his king.

"Uh ... I think that's mate ... " I stammered, still shaking. I confirmed the mate but then, unlike Lizabeth in "Marigolds," I did not snap and destroy the chess set or any other thing of beauty. Instead, I jumped up and down, yelling and screaming to my mother, "I beat him, I beat him!" I knew this was a very important event in my life. I had known that some day I would be able to beat my father at chess with hardly any effort at all.

I almost felt sorry for him. He, the chemist, had been beaten by a 10-year-old. Beating my father at chess felt out of place. It was a sign that I was growing up. I started out striving to learn more and hopefully be lucky enough to turn out the way my father did -and I ended up beating him at chess.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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